This qualitative study explored the lived experience of affiliation among veterans in the American Legion. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), this thematic analysis resulted in five findings that emerged from fifteen in-depth interviews of nine veterans. First, affiliation offers an intimacy that is assumed due to their previous military affiliations. Second, affiliation provides an alternative society that helps remedy marginalization for those whose traditional, conservative beliefs are less respected in a society with declining social values. Third, within this alternative society, affiliation affords non-combat veterans a sense of being valued despite a simultaneous feeling of marginalization due to their lack of combat experience—although the status hierarchy associated with combat experience remains silenced. Additionally, this alternative society affirms the silencing of the status hierarchy and maintains an embittered “us vs. them” mindset that results in experiencing the Legion as being superiorly separate from main stream society. Fourth, affiliation provides transformations in the form of a reclaimed life and altered associations to life and death. Fifth, affiliation provides reparative experiences, offering opportunities to address injustices and memorialize one’s military experiences through Legion rituals. This study suggests further research that focuses on the implications of the lack of affiliation for those who have left military service.
|School:||Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)|
|Department:||Clinical Social Work|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Social psychology|
|Keywords:||Affiliation , Veterans , American Legion|
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